So, what is it like quarantining on a Boat?


Quarantining is somewhat like preparing for and then doing a passage.  Did I mention I hate passages? At least with quarantining there is no rough weather, night watches or seasickness and if you’re lucky you might find an isolated beach for a walk and if it’s warm enough you could swim, unfortunately at the moment you need a wetsuit to do so.  With all the Pacific Islands closed and now not being able to leave Mexico, we are spending the foreseeable future in the Sea of Cortez.  We very briefly considered sailing back to Australia, but 60 days at sea is beyond my mental capabilities.

While our boat is 50 feet or 15 meters the actual space to walk and move around is somewhat less, due to beds, cabinetry, and seating, we estimate about 6 continuous meters at a stretch.  You can walk around the exterior of the boat you just have to not trip over the jack lines or stub your toe on other sailing hardware.  The lack of space is a distinct disadvantage to living on a boat.

There is also no internet, except for emails, if you remember to forward it via the satellite phone.  The satellite phone does allow you access to three newspaper headlines and if you are very lucky you may be able to load a page if you are prepared to really wait.   There have been lots of radio calls and the kids have played a lot of hangman over the radio to entertain themselves, I think Utopia’s best word was quoll (Australian animal) and Love and Luck’s was sequoia (a type of tree). Andrew, Tristan, Ava, and I have been reading, the kids have had some schoolwork to do and each is involved with writing their own novels.  Tristan has been doing lots of fishing and sleeping.  We have also been re-watching Attenborough’s Africa, and new for us; Broadchurch and Once Upon a Time.  So, while we are bored, we are finding enough to do.

We are pretty well-provisioned food-wise and about a week ago we had to start making bread again.  The kids are enjoying baking and I had downloaded a whole pile of new recipes to try, so far, the favorite has been sugar cookie bars.  There are often food exchanges where the kids will bake brownies and take over a plate to Love and Luck or they have brought over cinnamon buns.  Three and half weeks in and we are down to about 6 onions and carrots and ½ a cabbage so meals will start getting a bit more inventive in the future as we venture back into tinned vegetables.  Our freezer can usually hold 6 – 8 weeks of meat but to make it last, we are now having two meals of fish and then a meal of chicken, beef, or pork, lucky Tristan and Andrew have been catching so many fish. 

The plan is to last two more weeks and then we will have to use the newly established Loreto shopping service to get some more fruit and veg.  As we are no longer allowed into town an enterprising Mexican has set up a shopping service where you send your shopping list via WhatsApp and they will meet you at the marina dock in Loreto with your shopping.  There is a charge of 25% of the value of shopping.  Totally worth it to avoid upsetting the locals and avoiding the coronavirus.

I was talking with Andrew one day when he expressed one of the hardest things, he is finding is what many cruisers hold dear, the ability to talk to all your neighbors.  We have lived in London, twice and in various places in Australia and have never known who our neighbors were.  However, on a boat you are friendly to all your neighbors whether it be the local population of the country you are in, fellow boaters in your anchorage, or a dinghy or kayaker passing buy.  The unfortunate thing about quarantine is the growing fear that your neighbors may not be quarantining or may have or carry the virus and if you behave in your normal way and go talk to them that you may risk your own or your families lives by doing so.  As our nearest town, Loreto has only two ventilators and we can’t go to shore, we are doing our best to remain healthy. 

Sadly, we now live where we try to go to a beach where there are no other people to avoid human contact, we chose anchorages where there are no boats or villages.  The whole relaxed attitude of cruising is gone, drinks on the beach or each other’s boats are few and far between and only between your close circle of trusted friends who have also quarantined.  While we wonder if this is to become our new normal life, we are now fortunate to be isolated from the devastating effects the COVID-19 has had on Italy, Spain, America, and other countries.

4 thoughts on “So, what is it like quarantining on a Boat?

  1. You are doing a wonderful job staying safe & keeping the famly healthy.
    Lucky we are confined to the marina in Hervey Bay, & have ascess to the shops.
    Best wishes & fair winds, Rob & Barry, Tradewinds.


  2. Dear Karen and family. This is Laita Nozaic -Ava’s Italian Teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your current blog. As I have previously said, I find it very fascinating. If you don’t mind, I would love to show this to my parents too upon their return. I am sure they would be able to relate to some of your experiences. By the way, their boat is named “Tristan”. The have been sailing from Lombok to Cairns. P.S I saw very briefly that you have sailed to many countries. What an eye opener for your children. I love to travel myself. I love the photograph as well. I am interested in photography. Thank you for sharing this with me.
    Take care.
    Kind regards,
    Laita Nozaic.


    1. I love that your parents are out enjoying the ocean, we sailed from Cairns to Lombok in 2012 and would love to get back to that side of the world. The kids are certainly living a different life and most definitely made easier with the help of Cairns Distance Ed.


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